Page 52 - Fall2016
P. 52


WJU alumnus wins
big on ‘Millionaire’

                                                                             said he decided not to audition.

                                                                             However, a friend urged him to

                                                                             give it one more try, so Matheny

                                                                             decided to fill out the online appli-

                                                                             cation and essay.

                                                                             Several days later he got a call

                                                                             from the show. Impressed by his

                                                                             essay, they conducted an exten-

                                                                             sive interview via Skype. On May

                                                                             23, he talked with three show reps,

                                                                             completed a 30 question multiple

                                                                             choice test and answers six ques-

A passion for trivia landed Wheel-        The associate pastor at All        tions “in which they wanted me to
ing Jesuit alumnus, Rev. William      Saints Parish in Bridgeport, West      reason out my answers.”
Matheny on the game show “Who         Virginia, is no stranger to game
Wants to be a Millionaire?” where     shows. In 2013 he won more than            On July 7, he got a call from
he won $250,000.                      $2,000 on “Jeopardy.”                  ‘Millionaire,’ one he had been wait-
                                                                             ing years to receive — he had been
    The member of the class of            “I have been trying to get on the  chosen to appear on the show. He
1977 said his passion for trivia was  syndicated version of “Who Wants       taped his segment on July 21 and
encouraged and fueled by for-         to be a Millionaire?” since 2003. I    enlisted his brother Bob to serve as
mer WJU English Professor, Rev.       traveled to New York each summer       his ‘Plus One’ — the new term for
Stephen Laut, S.J. As a student, Fr.  to audition for the show. I’d always   “Phone a Friend.”
Matheny was a regular participant     pass the test and get the personal
in Fr. Laut’s College Bowl contests.  interview.  However, days later I’d        “Naturally, I was quite nervous
                                      receive a postcard informing me        before I got to be in the Hot Seat. I
    The show aired in late Septem-    that I would not be placed into the    paced the floor and went to the
ber at which time he won a quarter    contestant pool.  Somehow, I never     restroom every five minutes. How-
of a million dollars. He donated the  got too discouraged and kept go-       ever, once I got on stage, I felt as
bulk of his winnings to his home-     ing back,” Fr. Matheny said.           if I were right at home. Once I got
town grade school in St. Albans,                                             through the first couple of ques-
West Virginia.                            When ‘Millionaire’ was moved       tions, I felt at ease.  I methodi-
                                      to Las Vegas this year, Matheny        cally explained each answer,” Fr.
                                                                             Matheny explained.

50 Wheeling Jesuit University
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